On 15 March 1817 the convict ship the Chapman departed from Cork with 200 male prisoners on board. When it dropped anchor off Sydney Cove four months later, its prison doors opened to reveal 160 gaunt and brutalised men. Twelve were dead and twenty-eight lay wounded in the hospital below deck. As officials pieced together the horrors of the voyage many questions arose. Why did Michael Collins claim that his fellow convicts conspired to take the ship? Why was Captain Drake unable to rein in the violent and sadistic Third Mate Baxter? Was there really an attempted mutiny on the Chapman? Or was this cold-blooded murder? Using daily journals from the crew, detailed testimony from several convicts and official colonial government correspondence, this book unravels what happened during those four months at sea. Tarnished by intrigue, suspicion and mutual hatred, this is the story of one of the darkest episodes in the history of penal transportation between Ireland and Australia.
|Publication date:||18th June 2018|
|Publisher:||The History Press Ltd|
|Categories:||True stories, Maritime history, Penology & punishment,|
Conor Reidy is a history lecturer at the University of Limerick. His previously published books include Criminal Irish Drunkards and Ireland's Moral Hospital: The Irish Borstal System 1906-1965 as well as number of articles published in journals such as Irish Historical Studies andthe Tipperary Historical Journal. His is a member of the Irish Historical Society and the Economic and Social History Society of IrelandMore About Conor Reidy